Scroll Top

Opening up the conversation

Young people, parents, head teachers and school staff recently joined Council officers, Elected Members and Community Planning partners for the Reducing the Cost of the School Day Conference 2022.

Held at Ardrossan Civic Centre on 30 May, the annual conference was opened by Executive Director of Communities, Audrey Sutton.

It’s aim was to allow the continued co-design and co-development of a renewed Cost of the School Day (COSD) action plan to mitigate the impact of child poverty in North Ayrshire.

Listening and taking action to tackle child poverty 

Reducing the Cost of the School Day is a key focus of the Council’s Child Poverty Action Plan and Report agreed by Cabinet in June 2022.

The policy runs alongside the Council’s Fair for All strategy and is a recommendation of the Council’s Youth Participation Strategy, both of which are the Council’s mechanisms for taking into account residents’ lived experience and ensuring young people’s voices are heard, actioned and respected in North Ayrshire.

Alison Allan, Senior Manager in Education commented:

“This year’s conference included representation from nearly 200 children, young people and staff across almost all primary, secondary and ASN schools, including children from as young as 4 through to S6. The lunchtime choir was also a wonderful contribution from the Lockhart Campus pupils.

“The learner’s voice of the 174 children attending the conference will be used to inform North Ayrshire schools on the Council’s approach to reducing the Cost of the School Day (COSD) action plan and support school staff to take on board the voice of children and young people as the plan is implemented throughout North Ayrshire schools.

“The conference’s collaborative approach is putting the learner’s voice front and centre to the Council’s decision making and planning.”

Donna Anderson, Youth Participation Officer commented: “This year’s Reducing the Cost of the School Day conference was a fantastic success – thank you so much to everyone who came along to take part and support the important discussions on the day.

The event allowed us to gain valuable feedback from a series of youth guest speakers who shared a range of young people’s experiences of child poverty, so that we can carefully consider new ways to help them tackle and overcome the barriers they face.”

If you need help towards the cost of footwear, clothing or school meals or know someone who is need of support, visit the website here to find out more about the support available: Footwear, clothing and free school meals (

With the rising cost of living, child poverty is more prominent than ever and the Council is fully committed to building a fair and equal society where children and young people have the best start in life. The COSD conference is the first step in our renewed action plan to alleviate the stress and anxiety associated with the cost of sending pupils to school.

Andrew McClelland, Head of Service (Education) commented: “The feedback gained from the workshops and discussions on the day will now be used to inform the Reducing the Cost of the School Day Action Plan 2022/23.

“We recognise that although the Council has already made significant progress in our communities and educational establishments to challenge poverty, there is still more work to be done throughout North Ayrshire’s six localities.

“This is why the conference is so important as it gives those most-affected a clear voice in co-developing the next steps of the strategy so we can ensure that children, young people and families are supported to be able to participate fully in everything that school life in North Ayrshire has to offer.

“Thank you to everyone who has been involved so far in this collaborative process, especially our children and young people. We are very much looking forward to using the knowledge gained to drive further positive change following the conference.”

North Ayrshire Council Leader, Marie Burns also attended, she added: “I had the pleasure of attending the Reducing the Cost of the School Day conference in May and I was hugely impressed to learn how much is already being done by our schools to challenge the rising cost of living.

“Hearing first hand from young people and their personal experiences of struggling to make ends meet was deeply profound and will sadly, ring true with more and more of our communities, as they struggle to cope with unprecedented rises in food, fuel, energy and general living costs.

That is why the Cabinet will work over the coming months to ensure that tackling poverty is at the heart of our key objectives.”

Privacy Preferences
When you visit our website, it may store information through your browser from specific services, usually in form of cookies. Here you can change your privacy preferences. Please note that blocking some types of cookies may impact your experience on our website and the services we offer.